Sunday, August 31, 2014

For My Sister, In which I douse myself with cold water

Today I skyped with my little sister. She's 11 now, and getting all sorts of chatty and teenager like. While the phone was being passed around from person to person, she told me how I'm the subject of her school project on the person she admires the most. Then she talked more about how she googled my name to find pictures of me on the internet (and a lot came up.... not terrifying at all). Then in a brief moment before the phone got passed to someone else, she asked, "So what's feminism anyway?" I didn't get the chance to answer, but in it's simplest definition (according to feminism is "the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men." So basically Rach, feminism is making sure women have the same rights that men do in all aspects of life. And I support that. What gets messy, I think, is that not all feminists have the same definition of equality. There are a lot of feminists, for example, that don't like religion because they think it makes women weaker. But I disagree. I like my religion. I find it empowering.

Now what does this have to do with me dumping a bucket of cold water on my head? Great question. While I admire the awareness the whole campaign has raised for ALS, I haven't been the biggest fan. So when my sister nominated me, I was not interested in doing it.

But here is my younger sister, participating in something good, raising money and awareness for a cause. So because she asked me to, I did it. I want her to know she has a voice, that she has the power to participate in movements. I want her to know that when she speaks, she should expect people to listen. Not in spite of the fact that she's a lively, intelligent, 11 year old girl, but because of it.

On a closing note, rather than donate money to the ALS foundation, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the past month, I'm donating some money to a different organization. is a website that helps coordinate micro-loans to people across the world who want to start a business and support themselves. It's one of the organizations highlighted in one of my favorite books Half the Sky.

And instead of nominating specific people, I'm just going to challenge everyone to go out and do something good today; donate money to a charity that means something to you, bake cookies for someone who needs them, make a child feel like they're being listened to. I don't care. Just do something good.

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